Little House On The Prairie Closes Its Doors For The Last Time This Spring

Courtesy:  Lionsgate

Courtesy: Lionsgate

The Little House on the Prairie will finally close its doors for the last time this spring when Lionsgate releases the series’ ninth and final season.

Lionsgate will release Little House on the Prairie: Season Nine Deluxe Remastered Editionon Tuesday, April 19th. It will be released on digital combo pack and will include the bonus episode “Bless All The Dear Children” alongside the season’s twenty-one total original episodes. Big changes are in store this season for the Ingalls family. The family takes in Michael and Karen’s niece Jenny. Laura wins a book-writing contest in another episode. And in another interesting turn of events Nancy runs away. If that isn’t enough to interest audiences, Willie surprises the family with his engagement. It is just one more story that will keep audiences engaged from the season premiere to its finale (and that of the series).

As an added bonus for fans of this classic family-friendly series, Little House on the Prairie: Season 8 Deluxe Remastered Edition and l are both currently available for pre-order on Blu-ray exclusively via Amazon. Each is available for MSRP of $29.99. More information on each set is available via Amazon. More information on this and other titles from Lionsgate is available online now at:

Website: http://www.lionsgate.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/LionsgateTV

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Mr. Holmes Is An Intriguing Portrayal Of Sherlock Holmes

Courtesy:  Lionsgate

Courtesy: Lionsgate

On November 20th, 1886 Sir Arthur Conan Doyle brought to the world one of the greatest figures in literary history when he published his novel A Study in Scarlet. The book was the debut of none other than Sherlock Holmes. In the nearly one hundred and thirty years that have passed since that novel was first published, Holmes has become one of the greatest detectives in the realm of fictional crime and in the literary world in whole. Holmes’ many adventures have been published and republished countless times over that time. Just as many movies and even TV series have been spawned from Doyle’s “best man” so to speak. There has even been a number of new, original stories crafted by modern authors in the past fifty years or so that have been influenced by Holmes’ adventures. In 2015 Lionsgate Studios released a new Sherlock Holmes story unlike any out there. The story, Mr. Holmes, is based on one of those new, original literary tales that goes by the title of A Slight Trick of the Mind. The book was authored by Mitch Cullin. Despite being marketed as a suspense/thriller piece, it is in fact neither one. In reality it is more drama than anything else as its story reveals. That story is this movie’s central element. The work of veteran actor Ian McKellan is just as important as the movie’s story. Last but hardly least of note in this movie is its cinematography. The various shots of the British countryside in which McKellan’s Holmes resides are stunning to say the very least. Each element is in its own right important to the whole of Mr. Holmes. Altogether they make Mr. Holmes a story that any Sherlock Homes fan should see at least once both because of its differences from Doyle’s original Holmes stories and despite those differences.

When Lionsgate brought author Mitch Cullin’s novel A Slight Trick of The Mind to the big screen last year in the form of Mr. Holmes it is safe to say that up to that point, few if any stories like it had been crafted about the world’s most famous detective. That central-most element of Mr. Holmes makes it worth the watch if not more. The movie was originally marketed as a thriller/suspense tale. But in reality it is neither. It is in fact a drama that follows Sherlock Holmes in the twilight of his life as he struggles to remember the events of his final case so as to put them to paper. That, essentially, is the movie’s plot. As audiences soon learn in watching the story unfold, McKellan’s Holmes is battling the growing effects of dementia as he tries to recall the events of the case in question. At the same time Holmes is also having flashbacks to a meeting with a man in Japan whose father the man claims met Holmes years before and left his family as a result. It doesn’t initially make any sense but does eventually tie back in to Holmes’ attempts to recall the events of that final case. At first the story jumps around with few clear transition points, forcing audiences to give the movie their full attention. And it does move slowly at first, too. But as the story unfolds it becomes somewhat easier to follow. And perhaps it could be argued that this was intentionally done so as to accent Holmes’ growing mental struggles. If that is the case then kudos to writer Jeffrey Hatcher for taking such an approach. Regardless it must be mentioned. Even with all of this in mind Mr. Holmes still proves to be a story that is worth at least one watch especially among true fans of Holmes’ many adventures. It is not the only reason that Mr. Holmes is worth a watch either. Lead star Ian McKellan’s work on camera is the movie’s real shining bright spot.

The story behind Mr. Holmes is unlike almost any story that has ever been crafted about Holmes since Sir Arthur Conan Doyle first introduced Holmes to the world nearly one hundred and thirty years ago. It presents a story of a Holmes at his worst so to speak rather than his best as he battles the onset of dementia. It is a story that is worth at least one watch. While its separation from so many other Holmes stories makes it well worth at least one watch, lead actor Sir Ian McKellan’s work on camera makes the movie even more worth the watch. He fully embraces the portrayal from beginning to end, creating a character whose struggles make viewers’ hearts hurt for him. It is clear that this Holmes is so quickly slipping away and trying to pass on his love of deduction to a younger generation in his friendship with the young Roger (Milo Parker — Robot Overlords, Ghosthunters on Icy Trails, The Durrells). It would have been so easy for McKellan to go over the top with his portrayal. But being the consummate professional that he is, he avoids that trapping and in turn puts in an Oscar-worthy performance. Even with the Academy voters not giving that credit where it is due, audiences that watch his performance will agree that McKellan has once again put in an award-worthy performance here and single-handedly saved the movie.

Sir Ian McKellan’s portrayal of the aging Sherlock Holmes in Mr. Holmes is the movie’s single brightest element. His performance is one that was just as deserving of an award as any of the others throughout his career. That is not to take anything away from the movie’s central story. As a matter of fact McKellan’s performance and the movie’s original story are both reasons in themselves for audiences to see this movie at least once. While both elements give audiences reason enough to watch this movie at least once, they are not the movie’s only notable elements. Its cinematography rounds out its presentation. Audiences will be blown away by the shots of the famed White Cliffs as McKellan and Parker go for a swim in the ocean. The shots of the British countryside where Holmes lives are just as powerful. This is especially to note considering just how few sets were actually used in the grand scheme of the movie. And the footage of the train traversing that countryside is especially powerful. Who cares that the engine and its cars might not have been exactly from 1947. That is beside the point. Watching the engine as it steamed along the countryside is still something that will leave any viewer in awe. There’s something about the contrast of its power against the calm, gentle countryside that just makes it stand out. It’s something that must be seen to be fully understood and appreciated. The same applies with the other noted shots and so many others. Considering this, the cinematography is one more saving grace for Mr. Holmes. together with McKellan’s expert work on camera and the intriguing new portrayal of Sherlock Holmes in this story, the movie in whole proves to be worth at least one watch.

Lionsgate’s new Sherlock Holmes story Mr. Holmes is a take on the world-famous detective that is definitely brave to say the very least. It isn’t just another Sherlock Holmes crime story. It is in its own right a tribute to the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle as audiences will note in watching the story. But even more so it is a story of the world-famous detective at his weakest. It shows a man whose mental greatness has all but fled him. He is a pale shadow of his former self. Yet even in the twilight of his life he still has just enough left in the tank to finish off his final case and correct at least one of the stories that he claimed Mr. Watson improperly recalled. That story in itself makes the movie worth at least one watch. The work of Sir Ian McKellan adds even more interest to the story. As a matter of fact his portrayal of the aging Holmes is the brightest of spots in this movie. It is just as award-worthy as his work in his other films. The movie’s cinematography is just as impressive as McKellan’s work. It really accents the emotion established by the story’s script. It rounds out the movie’s most notable elements. Together with McKellan’s work and that of scriptwriter Jeffrey Hatcher, all three elements combine to make this intriguing portrayal of Sherlock Holmes one that is worth at least one watch. It is available now in stores and online on DVD + Digital combo pack and Blu-ray + Digital HD combo pack.

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Lionsgate, WGN Announce Release Date For Manhattan: Season 2

Courtesy:  Lionsgate/WGN AMerica

Courtesy: Lionsgate/WGN America

WGN’s hit period drama Manhattan just wrapped its second season last month. Now fans of the hit serial won’t have to wait very long to own Season 2 for themselves.

Lionsgate announced Monday that Manhattan: Season 2 will be released in stores and online on Tuesday, March 8th. It will be released on DVD + Digital and Blu-ray + Digital HD. The 3-disc DVD + Digital box set will retail for MSRP of $34.97 and the Blu-ray + Digital HD box set for MSRP of $34.98. Season Two picks up right where Season One left As Season Two opens Charlie Isaacs (Ashley Zuckerman – Terra Nova, Rush, Childhood’s End) is forced into a lead role in the efforts to develop the bomb. As the project proceeds, tensions begin to rise between the military and scientists over who is actually running the project. And the chase is on to stop a Soviet spy who intends to throw a wrench into the project. Frank Winter (John Benjamin Hickey – Flags of Our Fathers, The Bone Collector, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen) is on the spy’s trail. This and much more will keep audiences fully engaged over the course of Season 2’s ten total episodes.

Along with Hickey and Zuckerman Manhattan also stars Rachel Brosnahan (House of Cards, The Blacklist, Beautiful Creatures), Michael Chernus (Orange is the New Black, Captain Phillips, The Bourne Legacy), Christopher Denham (Argo, Shutter Island, The Following), Justin Kirk (Weeds, Modern Family, Angels in America), Harry Lloyd (The Theory of Everything, Game of Thrones, The Iron Lady), William Petersen (CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Fear, To Live and Die in L.A.), and Olivia Williams (Dollhouse, The Sixth Sense, Rushmore).

Manhattan: Season 2 will be released in stores and online on Tuesday, March 8th. It will be released on DVD + Digital and Blu-ray + Digital HD. The 3-disc DVD + Digital box set will retail for MSRP of $34.97 and the Blu-ray + Digital HD box set for MSRP of $34.98. More information on this and other titles from Lionsgate is available online now at:

 

Website: http://www.liosngate.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/LiosngateTV

More information on Manhattan is available online now along with all of the series’ latest news at:

 

Website: http://wgnamerica.com/manhattan

 

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ManhattanWGNA

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ManhattanWGNA

 

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Children, Families Won Big In 2015 With So Many New DVD, BD Offerings For Families

Young audiences were given quite a number of new offerings this year on DVD and Blu-ray. Between the standalone discs and box sets, there was quite a bit of material from which children and their parents had to choose this year. Having already covered the best of the year’s box sets for kids, it is time now for Phil’s Picks to turn its attention to the best of this year’s new standalone DVDs and BDs for children and families. Kindie rock act Josh and the Jamtones released its long-awaited DVD Bear Hunt: The Movie early this year. And that DVD was well worth the wait, too. Its original presentation and story, and extra music videos made it an instand shoe-in for this year’s list of the year’s best new DVDs and Blu-rays for kids and families. Lionsgate’s new claymation movie Shaun The Sheep: The Movie is also on the list. That movie surprised with its largely family friendly story and the heart therein. PBS and Shout! Factory Kids each got in the act with new Reading Rainbow DVDs and DVDs from Discovery Family’s former series The Adventures of Chuck and Friends. Shout! Factory Kids’ Transformers Rescue Bots DVDs are each in this list, too along with other titles. That in mind, it’s time to stop rambling. Presented for your consideration dear readers, is Phil’s Picks list of 2015 Top 10 New Family DVDs/BDs. As always, the Top 10 titles make up the main body of the list while the bottom five each receive honorable mention.

PHIL’S PICKS 2015 TOP 10 NEW FAMILY DVDs/BDs

1. TURKEY HOLLOW

2. SHAUN THE SHEEP: THE MOVIE

3. JOSH AND THE JAMTONES–BEAR HUNT: THE MOVIE

4. READING RAINBOW: IF YOU GIVE A MOUSE A COOKIE

5. READING RAINBOW: ANIMAL CAFE

6. THE ADVENTURES OF CHUCK & FRIENDS: REV YOUR ENGINE

7. THE ADVENTURES OF CHUCK & FRIENDS: DAY AT THE RACES

8. DANIEL TIGER’S NEIGHBORHOOD: BIG BROTHER DANIEL

9. TRANSFORMERS RESCUE BOTS: DINO BOTS

10. TRANSFORMERS RESCUE BOTS: RETURN OF THE HEROES

11. TRANSFORMERS RESCUE BOTS: JURASSIC ADVENTURE

12. CURIOUS GEORGE: SEASON 8

13. SUPER WHY: CINDERELLA AND OTHER FAIRYTALE ADVENTURES

14. WORDWORLD: BIRTHDAY PARTY

15. LETTER FACTORY ADVENTURES: AMAZING WORD EXPLORERS

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PBS Dominates The Documentary Ranks Again In 2015

The final hours of 2015 are officially here. And with the final hours ticking away, Phil’s Picks is helping you to pass the time with the last year-ender lists of the year for discussion. Phil’s Picks has already covered quite a bit of ground in the last week and a half or so of the year. But there is still a little bit of ground to cover before the final countdown begins. That ground includes the list presented here. As always, the Top 10 titles make up the main body of the list with the bottom five each receiving honorable mention. Enough rambling for now. Presented for your consideration dear readers, is the Phil’s Picks 2015 Top 10 New Documentaries.

PHIL’S PICKS 2015 TOP 10 NEW DOCUMENTARIES

1. AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: WALT DISNEY

2. SECRETS OF THE DEAD: BEN FRANKLIN’S BONES

3. THE SIXTIES

4. NOVA: NAZI ATTACK ON AMERICA

5. THE BOMB

6. NOVA: SECRETS OF NOAH’S ARK

7. SUNSHINE SUPERMAN

8. JACO

9. I’LL BE ME

10. DINOSAUR 13

11. AMERICAN HERCULES: BABE RUTH

12. MAGICIAN

13. I’M NO DUMMY

14. NATURE: INVASION OF THE KILLER WHALES

15. NOVA: LETHAL SEAS

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Lionsgate, Others Offer Solid Alternatives To Hollywood’s Power Five Studios In 2015

Looking at numbers from the box office this year, one would imagine that theaters did quite well. In terms of financial figures, they did. But in terms of really worthwhile offerings, theaters and studios clearly did not do that well. That is because much like 2014 the major theatrical offerings churned out this year were prequels, sequels, and remakes. Next year looks to be sadly much the same in that aspect. Luckily for all of the brainless, unoriginal content churned out by Hollywood’s major studios this year, audiences were offered some viable alternatives. Many of those alternatives came courtesy of Lionsgate and other independent studios. Magnolia Films’ dramedy Life’s A Breeze is just one of the noted films that proved to be one of the year’s best new movies. The independently released buddy flick A Walk in the Woods is another of those great alternatives. IFC’s Match and Manglehorn aso proved to be viable alternatives to all of the prequels, sequels, and remakes churned out by Hollywood’s Power Five Studios. And who would have thought that Shaun The Sheep: The Movie would prove to be so enjoyable, too? There’s no dialogue at all. What’s more it’s a claymation flick. But it has so much heart. It is one that the whole family should see together at least once. It is just one more movie that made it onto this critic’s list of the year’s Top 10 New Movies. Speaking of that list the following collection of titles makes up the Phil’s Picks 2015 Top 10 New Movies. And as always the top 10 make up the main body of the list while the bottom five each receive honorable mention for a total of fifteen titles. Enough rambling. Without any further ado, here for your consideration dear readers, is the Phil’s Picks 2015 Top 10 New Movies.

PHIL’S PICKS 2015 TOP 10 NEW MOVIES

1. A WALK IN THE WOODS

2. MATCH

3. SHAUN THE SHEEP: THE MOVIE

4. TURKEY HOLLOW

5. MR. HOLMES

6. LIFE’S A BREEZE

7. SPIKE ISLAND

8. LIFE’S A BREEZE

9. BELIEVE ME

10. SPARE PARTS

11. MANGLEHORN

12. SHIPS

13. GRACE

14. WHILE WE’RE YOUNG

15. DOG YEARS

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Grown-Ups Got Plenty Of Alternatives To Theaters’ Offerings In 2015

This year’s big screen offerings brought big numbers for theaters. The problem is that the majority of those big numbers were the result of Hollywood’s (and audiences’) seemingly insatiable appetite for prequels, sequels, and remakes. It’s a sad statement when one really sits down and thinks about it. And thankfully more audiences are coming to their senses about it each year and staying home instead, taking in the variety of alternatives being offered on television and online. Given, far too many of those alternatives were (and still are) serials, dramas, and some mixture thereof. But for all of the serials and dramas out there, they were just a drop in the bucket in terms of just how much was offered to audiences this year in the way of home entertainment. Shout! Factory released two more volumes of episodes from the cult classic series Mystery Science Theater 3000 this year. It also released the final two seasons of the classic sitcom Welcome Back, Kotter, the complete series run of The Saint, and much more. PBS has released all three current seasons of its hit reality/cooking show A Chef’s Life, and partnered once again with itv to release the third season of Mr. Selfridge. Timeless Media Group even gave audiences a good scare this year with the release of A Haunting: Season Seven. And for all of the conspiracy theorists out there, Lionsgate and History channel offered up the seventh season of Ancient Aliens. These are just some of the alternatives offered to audiences this year from the home entertainment realm. And they are all on the Phil’s Picks list of 2015’s Best New Box Sets for Grown-Ups. That is in comparison to box sets for the whole family. That is a whole other list. That list will be presented tomorrow. In explaining the choices for the list of this year’s top new box sets for grown-ups, the overall packaging of each set was taken into consideration alongside each set’s bonus materials (or lack thereof) and the writing that went into each presentation. The combination of each element in each set went into coming up with this list. Not every set had bonus material such as with Welcome Back, Kotter’s third and fourth season. But the writing behind each season made each season entertaining enough that they each stand quite well on their own merits. The bonus material featured in both volumes of MST3K played a big role in their presentations deserving them their own spots as did the bonus material in Time Life’s new Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts box set and that of Hell on Wheels’ fourth season. That should hopefully give at least some background on why each title was listed where it was listed. Keeping that in mind every title listed here is fully deserving of its spot on this list. So enough rambling. Without any further ado, I offer for your reading pleasure dear readers, the Phil’s Picks 2015 Top 10 New Box Sets for Grownups. As always, the Top 10 make up the main body of the list while the bottom five each receive special mention as they deserve to be on the list just as much. Here you go!

 

PHIL’S PICKS 2015 TOP 10 NEW BOX SETS FOR GROWN-UPS

  1. A CHEF’S LIFE: SEASON 1

 

  1. A CHEF’S LIFE: SEASON 2

 

  1. A CHEF’S LIFE: SEASON 3

 

  1. WELCOME BACK, KOTTER: SEASON 3

 

  1. WELCOME BACK, KOTTER: SEASON 4

 

  1. MR. SELFRIDGE: SEASON 3

 

  1. THE DEAN MARTIN CELEBRITY ROASTS: STINGERS AND ZINGERS

 

  1. HELL ON WHEELS: SEASON 4

 

  1. MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000: VOLUME XXXIII

 

  1. MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000: VOLUME XXXIV

 

  1. THE SAINT: THE COMPLETE SERIES

 

  1. BROADCHURCH: THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON

 

  1. HALT AND CATCH FIRE: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON

 

  1. A HAUNTING: SEASON 7

 

  1. ANCIENT ALIENS: SEASON 7

 

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